Le Monde | • Updated | By
These are the consequences of a heart attack that eventually stopped the eternal momentum of this singular character , considered the father of “street style” , the street fashion now a huge business. That’s a lot and it’s also reducing both his insatiable passion and caring integrity have made a living monument Bill Cunningham New York, literally since the city was officially awarded the title of “living landmark “ in 2009.
Born March 13, 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts, in an Irish Catholic family with four children, Bill is a curious boy who discovers the need for manual working as storekeeper at Bonwit Teller, a local department store. A scholarship to the prestigious Harvard University will not keep him long: he abandoned his studies and moved to New York. At 19, his life is elsewhere, but not in advertising, where his uncle tried to hire him. The young man prefers to ride his affair hats under the name of William J., never mind whether to multiply odd jobs to live his passion.
“You have to leave the street you speak “
He also became a fashion journalist, writes for the Woman’s Wear Daily (which he left after a disagreement with André Courrèges) and Chicago Tribune . But it is the image that will be his voice. From the second world war, Bill Cunningham started to photograph people on the street, with a cheap camera. The “Summer of Love” in 1967 marks its official entry in photography: America is changing, tastes, aspirations change, and Bill is there to tell the story in pictures
His business. hats closed, the streets of New York are his. Rich “socialites” Manhattan Harlem dancers, whose simple anonymous how to wear a coat or umbrella is unique: all interested. The sartorial expression of people around him inspired his vocation. “Do not have any preconceived ideas. We must get out and let the street speak to you “, he said.
In the 1970s, he became a” signature “due to the New York Times his column “on the Street” ( “on the Street”), but refuses to be hired – he finally agreed to be in 1994 following a road accident and medical insurance reasons. When he states prefer freedom with money, this is not the brash style figure of a wealthy. In town, Bill Cunningham is an ascetic, a man of the shadows that is as “dissolved” in its passion. Bill Cunningham has never wanted to be a star. He never saw the documentary Richard Press has dedicated in 2011, Bill Cunningham New York .
He lives in a tiny apartment in Carnegie Hall, no television or room private bathroom, but full as an egg all his shots, most of which have never been shown. Its purpose seems to be as invisible as possible, in his uniform: a indigo blue cotton jacket, black shoes, her little Olympus camera attached to the neck and his bike eternal – not we flew him less than 28 and more half a century of activity.
true style details
Over time, Bill Cunningham is still become a legend, the founder of a profession not always shining. Packs of photographers Street style now swarm in the fashion weeks in search of prey, women often surhabillées to go to a parade. A more than 80 years, Bill, he continued his small photographic ritual in New York or Paris, preferring the real details of style celebrity paid for wearing designer pieces.
His timid s’ has grown over the years, as his silhouette became frail; his benevolent smile, as his boyish curiosity never left him. “His company was sought after by the rich and powerful in the world of fashion, yet it remained one of the nicest men, the sweetest and most humble I’ve ever known” said the publishing director of the New York Times , Arthur Sulzberger Jr., adding, “We lost a legend. “
The way firm and polite to refuse a bench corner where to rest, to call ” child “ the most experienced adults and hardened in the art will also be greatly missed. During his lifetime, he always refused any retrospective of his work; it is now urgent to honor his legacy.